The writer-director unveiled new details about his recently-announced sequel in an interview with The Wrap, explaining that the story follows Randal (Jeff Anderson) deciding to make a certain movie after a brush with death.
“Randal has a heart attack, decides that he came so close to death, and his life has meant nothing, there’s nobody to memorialize him, he has no family or anything like that,” Smith said. “He comes to the conclusion at mid-life, having almost died, having worked in a movie store his whole life and watched other people’s movies, he tells Dante [Brian O’Halloran], I think we need to make a movie. So Dante and Randal make Clerks. That’s the story of Clerks 3.”
This story is no doubt inspired by Smith’s own heart attack in 2018, and, of course, draws further inspiration from the filmmaker’s life. The first Clerks, shot on a minuscule budget and released in 1994, was Smith’s directorial debut and launched his career. The film follows a day in the life of the titular retail clerks in New Jersey, and introduced such characters as Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith, respectively). Now the third film, as Smith explains, “writes itself because I f—ing lived it 25 years ago.”
“It’s just warm and f—ing wonderful,” Smith continued. “They’re figuring it out the same way I figured it out, but I have the benefit of being able to cherry pick all my favorite moments and stories of making Clerks and putting it right back into their hands.”
This story deviates from previous iterations of Clerks 3 that Smith has written, including the script presented via a live reading in New Jersey earlier this year.
“That was a movie that was written by a guy who was obsessed with middle age and dying, and it was all about death,” Smith said of the live reading script. “And that was before I almost died. Then I almost died, and now I don’t really want to talk about that s—. I’ve been too close. Now I just want to do life affirming things. The tone is going to shift completely. I owe those guys, those characters, Dante and Randal, a lot more than the kind of doom and gloom I was about to put them through.”
Smith previously confirmed that Anderson and O’Halloran would return to reprise their roles, along with himself and Mewes. Smith’s latest directorial effort, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, hits theaters Oct. 15.